BELLS BEACH, Victoria/Australia
The Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach presented by Ford Ranger recommenced this morning with Round 2 going down in beautiful offshore conditions and three-to-five foot (1 – 1.5 metre) surf at nearby Winkipop.
Owen Wright (AUS), 21, 2010 ASP Rookie of the Year, rebounded from a disappointing Round 1 heat yesterday by schooling Brazilian prodigy and Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach wildcard Gabriel Medina (BRA), 17 in their Round 2 clash.
“I knew that he (Gabriel Medina) was dangerous out there,” Wright said. “I got a couple of good scores and kept building on them throughout the heat. I had a few nerves in my first round heat and didn’t find any form at all, so it felt great to have a good heat. I’m not a rookie anymore, I’m one of the guys in the top few that wants to get higher. It’s a challenge, but I’m ready to step up.”
Wright will face Gabe Kling (USA), 30, in Round 3 of competition.
Jordy Smith (ZAF), 23, 2010 ASP World Title runner-up and Adam Robertson (AUS), 28, local trials winner, opened the day with an epic battle. The pair went wave for wave and mixed carving turns and tube rides with Smith narrowly edging out the local Trials Winner.
“It was a very tough heat,” Smith said. “He (Adam Robertson) started off really well and I don’t know what was going on with me. I was in a really bad rhythm and I was worried that the surf was pumping and I wasn’t able to get a score higher than 4, so I slowed down and got a good score. I knew it was going to be a tough heat and to win I just had to be on the best waves.”
Smith will take on Bobby Martinez (USA), 28, in Round 3 of competition.
Martinez caused the upset of the day, eliminating 2007 Rip Curl Pro Bells Champion and current No. 2 in the hunt for the 2011 ASP World Title, Taj Burrow (AUS), 31, in close heat that came down to the wire.
“My approach to that heat was to just surf,” Martinez said. “I’m not Occy (Mark Occhilupo) he’s not (Tom) Curren. That was just a heat that I’m very grateful I got through. I’m here to win, so I’m not going down without a fight.”
Josh Kerr (AUS), 27, had a dream heat today taking down fellow Australian Adrian Buchan (AUS), 28. Kerr didn’t put a foot wrong, picking all the best waves, timing them to perfection and tearing them apart.
“That was so fun!” Kerr said. “I was losing my marbles paddling out, I was so excited. I think I claimed a couple of waves out there, I don’t normally do that, sorry. Ace (Adrian Buchan) got me on the Gold Coast, so it was good to get him back in a high scoring heat.”
Kerr draws Mick Fanning (AUS), 29, former two-time ASP World Champion, in Round 3 of competition.
Highlights from the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach presented by FORD will be available via www.live.ripcurl.com and broadcast live on Fuel TV in Australia and ESPN in Brazil.
When men’s competition resumes, up first will be Owen Wright (AUS), 21, up against Gabe Kling (USA), 30, in the opening heat of Round 3.